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Sat Aug 13

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Tonbridge Angels (H)
Sat Aug 13 15:00
The Vanarama National League South

Early goals set up huge win at Hitchin

| League
Att: 828
Hitchin Town
B Donnelly (38), Smith (79)
2 - 3
Slough Town
Harris (2), Hollis (7), Dobson (pen 59)
Guy Hollis
Slough Town jumped above fellow promotion rivals Hitchin Town into third place after securing all three points at Top Field in front of a bumper crowd.

Two goals in the opening seven minutes gave the Rebels a solid foundation to build on, and despite pulling a goal back, James Dobson’s second half penalty restored the two goal lead for Slough before Kane Smith struck with eleven minutes remaining to set up a tense finale.

With Paul Strudley unavailable, Slough drafted in their second new goalkeeper of the week in the form of Alan Walker-Harris.

Just two minutes had elapsed when Simon Dunn found space on the left, and he pulled the ball across for Warren Harris to sidefoot into the top corner.

And just four minutes later, Dobson’s deep corner kick was recovered by Chris Flood, who lifted the ball back into the middle. Hitchin keeper Michael Johnson dropped the ball under pressure from Mark Nisbet, and the ball fell invitingly for Guy Hollis, who drilled it low into the goal from ten yards.

In response, Will Wright put the ball over the bar from Lucas Kirkpatrick’s free kick delivery, and Brett Donnelly’s header was saved by Walker-Harris.

Walker-Harris later did well to turn a deflected shot from Jay Dowie past the post.

Slough kept looking to extend their lead though, and Dobson’s charge towards goal was halted by a vital challenge from Conor Clarke.

But on 38 minutes, Hitchin got themselves back in the game. Brett Donnelly beat Nisbet to the ball after it was played forward from deep, and the striker lobbed it over Walker-Harris, who got a hand to it but could not prevent it dropping inside the far post.

Hitchin then went close to levelling just before the interval, as Brett Donnelly’s shot was blocked and Spence put an effort wide on the follow-up.

Just before the hour mark, Slough were handed the chance to regain their two goal cushion when Nisbet was fouled by Dan Webb in the penalty area as Dobson swung in a free kick. Nisbet was forced off with an injury as a result, and after he was replaced by Paul Stonehouse, Dobson stepped up to confidently fire the ball into the top corner, sending Johnson the wrong way.

Hitchin needed to respond quickly, and Brett Donnelly headed the ball onto the top of the bar, whilst Sean Fraser cleared off the line from Smith and Robbie Burns saw a header tipped over by Walker-Harris.

Slough were not simply defending in numbers though and retained an attacking threat. Johnson saved from Dunn and also made a more crucial save from Flood after fine work from Dobson to start the attack.

On 79 minutes, Smith breathed new life into the game as he drilled the ball low into the bottom corner through a packed penalty area, with Walker-Harris unsighted.

This made sure of a nervy final ten minutes, but Slough kept Hitchin at bay and could have sealed the win with a fourth goal on the break, but Harris fired wide after Dobson had shown good feet to work his way into the box.

Hitchin Town Line up

Michael Johnson, Kane Smith, Conor Clarke, Jay Dowie, Dan Webb (c), Will Wright, Mason Spence (Liam Brooks), Callum Donnelly (Jonny McNamara), Brett Donnelly, Robbie Burns, Lucas Kirkpatrick. Substitutes not used: Martin Bennett, Callum Riley, Alasan Ann.

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